Florida dominated Georgia in much more than football this year

Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason found himself on the run a lot against Florida’s aggressive defense. HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Welcome to your one-stop shop for Georgia football news and takes every Monday through Friday. It was the worst year ever for Georgia sports against Florida, as the Gators swept the Bulldogs in six of UGA’s biggest sports. We need a drinking song.

Track: I Gotta Get Drunk | Artist: George Jones and Wille Nelson | Album: My Very Special Guests

The Year of the Gator [barfing noise]

If you’ve been feeling the pain of Georgia athletics’ general struggles in almost every major sport the last few years, get ready for the knife to twist a little, because this has been an epically bad year for Georgia sports against the Florida Gators.

As Neil Shulman of Florida blog In All Kinds of Weather so gleefully noted, Georgia is 0-5 against the Gators in the big 5 sports this year, which Shulman defines as football, men’s basketball, baseball, women’s basketball and softball, the first time the Gators have ever completed a sweep of UGA in those sports. It’s facts like these that put Dawg fans on edge about the state of Georgia sports and lend credence to the criticisms of Greg McGarity’s ability to lead the athletic department, as Seth Emerson of DawgNation noted in this excellent piece on the malaise in UGA sports back in April.

But before we get that critical, let’s look at the results between Georgia and Florida this season:

  • Most importantly to most fans, Florida beat Georgia, 24-10, in football this season, giving the Gators 21 wins in the last 27 WLOCP’s, as noted by Shulman.
  • In men’s basketball, UGA had two opportunities to get a win but suffered a narrow 80-76 overtime loss in Gainesville before a 12-point trouncing at the hands of the Gators in Athens later in the season.
  • Florida women’s hoops went 15-16 last season and saw its head coach fired at the end of the year, but the Gators were still able to top the once-mighty Lady Dogs twice, by scores of 76-68 and 65-58.
  • A pretty good Georgia softball team suffered a three-game sweep in Gainesville at the hands of the Gators and were outscored 12-1 in the process.
  • This past weekend, Florida baseball handed the Dawgs a series sweep, with UGA blowing multiple leads in the series. The wins were enough to compel a few brave Florida fans to head downtown for the Twilight festivities, which is never something you want to see.
  • And Shulman didn’t count it, but just because it’s important to so many Dawgs fans, we’ll look at gymnastics. The results aren’t any better. The Gymdogs lost a meet at Florida in February and also nabbed second to Florida’s first-place showing at the NCAA gymnastics regional held in Gainesville this year.

That’s a real bad look for an athletics program that’s been long prided in its ability to compete at a high level in non-revenue sports.

What I think really stings about these losses for Georgia fans is that they represent a fall from grace in sports Georgia established superiority in long ago and their demise was created, at least in part, by decisions from McGarity. He hired the current coach in four of the aforementioned sports — football, women’s basketball, baseball and gymnastics. The jury is obviously still out in regard to football, but he fired gymnastics coach Danna Durante this month, one of his earliest and highest-profile hires of his tenure. Georgia baseball is a shell of its former self and will miss the postseason after another horrendous, losing season. Lady Dogs basketball under Joni Taylor can’t seem to find the edge it once had, all while Dawn Staley has turned South Carolina basketball into the best program in the country not named UCONN over the last few years and became a national champion.

And while McGarity didn’t hire men’s basketball head coach Mark Fox, he has retained him amidst fan cries for his ouster. So, consider Fox another coach whom McGarity has staked his (constantly diminishing) reputation. That’s all while sitting on $77 million in reserve funds that many fans think should be spent on, you know, Georgia sports instead of creating a throne of cash for him to sit on in Butts-Mehre.

How you do against a rival is, of course, not the ultimate measure of success. But when fans are concerned about the general state of Georgia sports, and still licking the wounds from another WLOCP loss, some wins in those smaller sports can help soothe the pain. When you go 0-for against the Gators, though, it just exacerbates the pain and highlights the problems within the program.

TL;DR: Losing to Florida sucks.

Brooklyn big man commits to Georgia hoops

Should Yante Maten stick with his decision to jump to the NBA, Georgia looks to have a replacement lined up in style, if not in skill.

On Tuesday, Georgia hoops announced the signing of 6-foot-8 power forward Isaac Kante, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., who played his high school ball at Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut. He has a similar body type as Maten and will pick up some of Maten’s duties if the All-SEC player indeed leaves, but this shouldn’t be seen as a definite sign that Maten will not return to Athens. From Seth Emerson of DawgNation:

The Bulldogs’ pursuit of Kante was not seen as a sign of pessimism about Maten returning. It was more about depth in the post: Maten would be a senior next year, Derek Ogbeide and Mike Edwards will be juniors. So will E’Torrion Wilridge, a 6-7 forward who played power forward near the end of last year. [Rayshaun] Hammonds [who is around 6-7] can play both forward positions, as can [Nicolas] Claxton [who is around 6-10], but Claxton may be more of a small forward.

Kante averaged 11 points and 6 rebounds per game at Putnam and is regarded as a 3-star prospect by 247Sports composite rankings. I couldn’t find any dedicated highlight footage of him, but here’s some highlights from a Putnam game last season that shows him in action. (Kante is wearing No. 32 in white.)

NCAA Tennis Championships moving away from Athens

Georgia men’s and women’s tennis will host the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament starting on May 12, as well as both championships on May 18. It’ll be the 32nd time the championships are hosted by the Bulldogs, but there won’t be a 33rd time for at least another half-decade. Here’s Chip Towers of DawgNation on the decision by the NCAA to move the championships away from Athens over the next five years.

The NCAA tennis committee announced last week the sites for the next four championships and Athens wasn’t among them. Since it was already going to be held somewhere else next year [Wake Forest], that means we won’t see this storied event back here at least until 2023, and Georgia can’t be sure it will get it back then. It hopes to.

As one might imagine, for a school with a tradition-rich tennis history such as UGA’s is, this did not go over well.

“I was just sick to my stomach,” Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity said of getting the news the morning before it was announced. “I couldn’t eat I was so disappointed. It hurt me to call Manny [Diaz] and tell him. That was a phone call I was not looking forward to. It’s just part of the disappointment. It’s unfortunate but we respect those who have to make these tough decisions.”

Make sure you read Towers’ entire piece on Georgia tennis’ history hosting the championship, thanks to legendary Bulldog Dan Magill. But the big takeaway is that it’s a really cool event Georgia has had the privilege to host for a long time, and it will be sorely missed in Athens. For anyone who hasn’t been to a tourney match at Dan Magill Tennis Complex, I suggest you get out there this month. You’re guaranteed to have a good time and you might just witness the Bulldogs lift another trophy.

‘Moments’ by Frank Martin

Georgia football has had excellent hype videos the last few years, thanks to the fantastic work of Frank Martin. Martin is graduating this week, so, fittingly, he produced a graduation video, “Moments,” and it is as excellent as the rest of his work. Prepare to get teary-eyed and remember your good ‘ol days back in Athens.

ICYMI

Good dog

UCLA’s Takk McKinley was selected as the Atlanta Falcons’ top draft pick only a few days ago, and he’s already my favorite player on the squad. It didn’t hurt that he came on stage at the draft with a giant portrait of his grandmother and let some profanities fly in celebration before yelling for the NFL to “fine me later.” But what puts him over the top is his very good dog, Codeine.

I repeat: His dog’s name is Codeine. I love this man and his very good dog.

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